Thursday 28 October 2010


We were in Jaipur last weekend. I was sure Ads would not enjoy it...come on...a lot of traipsing around forts and palaces and shopping in street markets? Not his scene at all! I was right, and so wrong! 
Yes, he did whine a little bit when he had to walk much more than he is used to; but what was really interesting was how he cottoned onto stuff that I never though he would notice! I suppose his intense interest in Indian mythology and epics, and a blossoming interest in history in general, has something to do with this. He didn't understand our guide's accented English all that well, so I had to keep listening with one ear while simultaneously translating to Ads. It reminded me of the translators jabbering away when two heads of state meet! I am sure the guide was a mite annoyed at my constant murmur in the background. Poor guy could not complain, of course!
From the fact that the Jaipur royal dynasty are descendants of Rama's son Kusha, to the fact that the Sheesh Mahal at Amber fort had mirrors imported from Belgium, to the fact that one of the Rajput kings weighed 250 kg and ate kilos of food every meal, to the textile museum which housed stunningly well-preserved garments and fabrics from the 17th to 19th centuries, Ads was gratifyingly engrossed. On my part, it was satisfying to add to his knowledge and excite his curiosity while learning a lot of new things myself.
There were two things that really excited him. One was the camel ride, Ads squashed in between me and S, jumping up and down as the camel galloped or trotted or whatever it is that camels do. The other was listening to a bonafide miniature artist (whose family has been artists for the royal family for generations) explain his craft and demonstrate the use of a single-hair brush (the hair plucked from a squirrel's tail). The artist kindly drew a very sweet elephant for the children, wrote their names and signed the drawing. My mom encased it in a plastic sheet and it is now proudly standing in a shelf in the children's room.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Give it to 'em babe!

I can distinctly remember the number of times people (relatives, acquaintances) have asked me: "So what do you do all day? You don't have time to study? C' have the WHOLE day!!!"
I only wish I could have given a snappy answer like this.
Quoting: When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.
It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time.

Aah. Did she just read my mind?!!

Monday 18 October 2010

Random update after Navaratri

The holidays are over - yippee!! It feels good to be back to the routine and the prospect of a shade under three hours of kid-free time everyday is wonderful. Every time I left the kids to their own resources and did my own thing, I was wondering whether I should not be doing stuff to stimulate their imagination, unleash their creativity, and jog their mental processes. What pressure!!!
Our Navaratri was low-key, once again because I was too lazy to make the effort to erect a Golu. My excuse this year (as it was last year) was that my time would be better spent in studying for the exam. Next year, next year I will have a Golu. I promise myself! We did manage to catch last day of Ramlila by watching a large effigy of Raavana blown up with fire-crackers. Ads was fascinated by the sight whereas Y clung to her father and whimpered incessantly.
My studying is (sort of) on track. No major derailments so far. Yesterday, I suddenly remembered that I had given myself not more than 5 years to be out of the workforce (well yes, it is an arbitrary number that I chose. 6 seemed to be too much!) Given that I have not been in a paying job for 3.5 years now, it gives me only another year plus to get cracking, pass the exams and find a job. Scary thought! 

Friday 15 October 2010

CWG holidays

So the Commonwealth games have come and gone and the kids have been home for two whole weeks. A mom in our complex was conducting art and craft classes everyday from 11.30 am to 1 pm, and thinking it was something Ads would enjoy, I enrolled him. I was right; he has enjoyed the daily activities (and they lend some structure to his day) and he has met a few new kids of his age. 
During this break, we've done phonics everyday, discovered and patronized a newly-opened children's library nearby, tried to learn roller-skating (and failed miserably!), cycled, scootered, played in the park, napped every afternoon, watched three movies (Enthiran, Ramayana - The Epic, Lava-Kusa) and generally had a ball. Not to mention enjoyed the company of Naani (my mother) who is visiting.

Thursday 7 October 2010

The notion of sacrifice

Every now and then (though they are - thankfully - increasingly rare), I will get the following comments/questions thrown my way: "Oh you 'sacrificed' your career for your children, good for you", "This is the right thing to do",  "Don't you get bored sitting at home"; and one day it hit me out of the blue that on that fateful day in 2002 when I decided I was going to drop out of the corporate rat race, I sentenced my husband to a lifetime of the very thing that I was discarding. However bad a day I am having with the kids, atleast my demanding bosses love me and I love them back and we pull along together somehow. However often they drive me up the wall, I have the choice and the privilege of staying home with them instead of catching glimpses of them through the day. Yes the payment I get for my work is tears, tantrums, hugs and kisses but this paycheck is worth it's weight in gold.
The days that S comes back home exhausted and yes, disgusted, with his workplace, the people and the rubbish that he has to put up with, the guilt gnaws at me. I mutter meaningless consoling words. I know that in order to maintain our "luxurious" (as S terms it) lifestyle, he has to continue to do the kind of work he's doing now. He has to continue making pots of money because even after I get back to work, anything I make will be pocket-change compared to him. We're too invested in our way of life to consider downgrading. So I get to do "meaningful" "fulfilling" work that I enjoy, and he gets to dream about how it would have been if he had become a Prof while his wife was out earning the big bucks.
I wonder who made the "sacrifice"?

Maybe I can go to more night shows now...?

Exactly a month before her 2nd birthday, my littlest one has finally been weaned from mother's milk. I was a little anxious, anticipating a repeat of Ads' non-stop 3-night crying sessions when he was weaned (at 16 months). However it turns out that since Y is much older now, she can be offered reasons on why she should not demand milk and offered alternatives instead, so it's been unexpectedly easy. Whereas weaning Ads was a relief (I was a working mum at that time and pretty gung-ho about getting my "freedom" back); with Y all I feel is a deep sense of sadness (even depression). My baby is not a baby any more now that she does not depend on me for sustenance and physical comfort. Anyone can feed her now, anybody can hold her in their lap and cuddle and soothe her. But there is also a very tangible satisfaction in having successfully breastfed her for long beyond the mandated 6 months. I suppose I went that extra mile with her simply because she is a girl. Girls (and women) have so many demands placed on their bodies, so many stresses through out their lives, that I just felt I had to give her immune system that extra boost. I had to do my extra bit to shove her firmly along the path to lifelong good health. 
Now - if only that stubborn toddler would not refuse to eat anything that is NOT junk, I'd feel much much happier about her prospects!